Artist – Album: Arcade Fire – Funeral
Released: 14th September 2004
Sounds Like: The power’s out, in the heart of man. Take it from your heart, put it in your hand.
Here is a list of things I don’t like about this album:
1. The flawed logic of a line in ‘Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)’ – “they say a watched pot won’t ever boil, well I closed my eyes and nothin’ changed” – has always grated with me. This fallacy is known as denying the antecedent and it makes about as much sense as saying “If Jim reads my blog, then Jim has good taste. Jim does not read my blog, therefore he doesn’t have good taste.” Which is just silly; it’s obvious that there will be some people who do not read my blog that still have good taste (although someone needs to tell them where to find it sharpish).
Anddddd… that’s it! Arcade Fire’s debut album is damn near perfect. In fact, if I were to write a list of things I do like about the album, you’d run out of patience before I run out of things I love.
It’s a modern classic, with genuine emotion and hurt rising from the recent passing of a number of the group’s relatives, set against a backdrop of rousing indie rock. Some songs are political (‘7 Kettles’ and ‘Rebellion (Lies)’), some are pained or alienated (‘Tunnels’ and ‘Power Out’), some have even come from dangerous and exotic sounding places that most of us will never see, but each song is still relatable and accessible. I think at some point or another every song on the album has been my favourite, but the four that round things off currently hold that honour. ‘Wake Up’ is a shifting anthem, with a danceable pay off that surprises following the epic sprawl that preceded it. ‘Haïti’ ropes in peppy xylophones to back Régine Chassagne’s chaotic recounting of her homeland. ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ was the biggest hit, which is no mean feat for a rocking juggernaut led by Will Butler’s howls about death and the “lies, lies” sing songy call and response of the chorus. Things close with ‘In the Backseat’, a ghostly track featuring Chassange’s best Bjork impression and one that undoubtedly means so much more than its face value of watching the world from a back seat window.
Since releasing this album in 2004 Arcade Fire have found success with two other astonishing records (with another due to come out next month). It says everything that, despite the sheer brilliance of every single one of their records, this is still the one that people turn to.
Albumaday... rating: 10/10
1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) – 4:48
2. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka) – 3:33
3. Une année sans lumière – 3:40
4. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) – 5:12
5. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles) – 4:49
6. Crown of Love – 4:42
7. Wake Up – 5:39
8. Haïti – 4:07
9. Rebellion (Lies) – 5:10
10. In the Backseat – 6:21
Listen to ‘Haïti’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwcaDvr8f1o
Also released on 14th September:
1993: Counting Crows – August and Everything After